Wherever you live, chances are there is at least one media outlet that is putting local artists on the air. If you are like me, you are more than grateful to have a musical safe-haven to escape the cookie cutter classic rock stations or even the increasingly disappearing stations that play top 40ish “new rock”.
Memphians, in my opinion, are quite lucky in this respect. For many years, music lovers living in the home of the King and the birthplace of the blues have had the pleasure of tuning to WEVL 89.9 FM, volunteer radio (pronounced like weevil by locals). The WEVL offers a wide range of programming from classic soul, local artists, country, Celtic, New Orleans style, jazz, swing and more. Since all the dj’s are volunteers and program their own shows they bring their own style to the airwaves and often mix in local artists past and present to their lineup. I find myself listening to shows completely outside of my wheelhouse and loving every minute. Some of my favorite shows include, “The Jukebox Graduate”, “Pajama Party”, “Soul Stew”, “River City Reville”, “Welcome to the Working Week” and “Memphis Beat”.
Now a new option for the app savvy, Radio Memphis has joined the airwaves to keep local music alive. Radio Memphis plays only local music and focuses on rock from the harder stuff to the more tame, which in Memphis still allows for both quantity and quality. After just a few months on the air, they have gained a pretty large listener base who have downloaded the app to their mobile devices. You never know what to expect from song to song but I find myself often pleasantly surprised. Some local rock bands that I would like to hear more of on Radio Memphis include, The Subteens, Youniverse, Dragoon, Good Luck Dark Star and the Rhine Stars.
I would be remised if I didn’t mention the quintessential Memphis music TV show, Memphis Sounds, that is hosted by the one and only George Klein. George brings on local legends and up and coming artists. You can catch this in constant rotation and are sure to find out which high school the artist went to and probably hear George tell an Elvis story, which depending on your interests you may or may not find interesting. I personally find the show fascinating and love the randomness of some of the questions and tales of life on the road in the biz.
Geographic locations aside, take the time to find out where you can tap into music from local artists and expand your horizons while escaping the trap of over commercialized radio stations. It is quite probable that you will find a new local band you love and can go check em out for $5 around the corner. A much better deal than a $50 nose bleed seat to a band that doesn’t even know what city they are in.